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>' Copyrlgbt, Caasda, 1913 
by Robert Sellar 



OF 1813 TO 




C op yright, Canada, 1913 
By Robert Sellar 


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It is right the intending reader of this pamphlet 
should be informed that it has been declared by the 
University of Toronto to be prejudiced in tone, based 
on secondary authorities, and inaccurate. (Review of 
Historical Publications by the University. Vol. 18). 
In 1881 I spent a week at Ottawa, examining docu- 
ments in the Archives bearing on the war of 1812. The 
perusal gave me a shock, for they revealed the fact, 
altogether unsuspected by me, that the existing his- 
tories of Canada abounded in perversions and suppres- 
sions of the truth, and in pure inventions. Since then 
I have maintained my acquaintance with the additions 
to the Archives, and pursued, so far as limited leisure 
and means would permit, investigations in other quar- 
ters. What J regard as of pecuHar value, was noting 
down the reminiscences of survivors of those times 
whom I found on the banks of the Chateauguay and 
Salmon rivers. So prolonged and so careful has been 
my sifting of everything relating to the campaign 
chronicled in these pages, that I feel warranted in claim- 
ing that it is not only a reliable narrative but that it 
is just to both the contending armies. That Time 
will vindicate this claim I feel assured, and that the 
pamphlet will yet be given the merit of telUng, in a 
way any school-boy can comprehend, how Canada was 
saved in the Fall of 1813 by the blunders of the enemy 
and the skill and daring of Colonel Morrison. 

Robert Sellar 
Huntingdon, Que., July 1, 1914. 


On the 18th June, 1812, the United States declared war 
agamst Great Britain, and on the 12th July followed up its 
declaration by invading Canada from Detroit. The invasion 
had a diegraceful ending. From Niagara a second invasion 
was attempted on the 13th October, which was also repulsed. 
The results of the operations of 1812 made it plain to the 
authorities at Washington that efforts to conquer Canada 
by invasions west of lake Ontario must be futile, for the 
reason that overrunning the western territory left intact 
the source from which supplies and reinforcements came 
to renew resistance. It was Britain that furnished the means 
to continue the war, and the channel through which she sent 
them was the St Lawrence. Block that channel and the 
current of supply would end. There were two points at which 
this could be done— Montreal and Kingston— and President 
Madison's cabinet were divided as to which should be attack- 
ed. The preference was for Kingston, as being nearer the 
United States and giving an opportunity for the co-operation 
of the naval force that had been organized on lake Ontario. 
With a United States army in Kingston no supplies could 
filter past it to the British forces in the west. This was ad- 
mitted, but it was also obvious that all of Canada east 
of Kingston would be untouched, and that while Montreal 
was in British possession an army could be brought in by 
sea that might retake Kingston. Quebec was the proper 
place to strike, but it was regarded as impregnable. Mon- 
treal came second. Once plant the stars-and-stripes over it 
and not only would all the military stations west of it, from 
Kingston to Niagara, and from Niagara to Sandwich, be 
compelled to surrender from lack of suppHes, but the boats 
and ships which brought men and material from England 
could no longer land them, for Montreal was at the head of 

navigation. As the importance of Montreal was realized, 

6 Sacketfs Harbor 

the advocates of an onward movement on Kingston included 
tlie capture of the other— a combined attack would be made 
on both Montreal and Kingston from land and water. 

The weak point in the defence of Canada was the slender 
link that connected Montreal with the west. In summer it 
was the St Lawrence, the southern bank of which, where it 
was narrowest, was American, so that boats going up were 
exposed to capture, and were often made spoil of. In winter, 
the troops and material landed at Montreal had to make 
their way westward by sleigh or wagon along a backwoods 
road that skirted the north bank of the river. To inquire 
why the American plan of campaign of 1812 did not include 
a movement upon Montreal to snap that link, instead of 
wasting strength on the shores of lakes Ontario and Erie, is 
beyond the scope of this monograph. Having realized the 
importance of gaining Montreal the Washington war de- 
partment bent all its energies in preparation. These were 
directed by Gen. Armstrong, the secretary of war, who in- 
tended taking command of the expedition. 

In 1813 Montreal was a town of small dimensions, con- 
sisting of a few narrow streets perched on the margin of the 
St Lawrence, in which dwelt less than 15,000 people. It had 
no defensive works, and the worst an invader could meet 
would be hastily thrown-up batteries along the river front. 
The strength of the little town lay in its inaccessibility. Situ- 
ated on an island, surrounded by deep and wide stretches 
of water, it could only be reached^by boats. An army, how- 
ever strong it might be, would be powerless to effect its cap- 
ture unless accompanied by a fleet of boats. This Armstrong 
fully realized, and while he issued orders to bring together 
an army such as the Republic had never before attempted, he 
also made preparations for the building of boats. Where 
they should be built was maturely considered, when it was 
decided Sackett's Harbor, at the eastern extremity of lake 
Ontario, Avas the only place that combined security from 
attack with a commodious bay. While the snow was on the 
ground the felling of trees was started and the sawing of their 
trunks into plank. Attracted by high wages, carpenters 
crowded to the little village and a beginning was made on the 
boats. These were flat^bottomed scows of such simple con- 
struction that they were quickly put together. Over 300 

Hampton Commands the East Wing 7 

were to be built. Depending upon the current ot the St Law- 
rence to sweep them to the island of Montreal, the oars placed 
in them were more for steering than rowing; crews to manage 
them were drawn from the sailors of New England ports and 
New York. French Canadian voyageurs, who volunteered 
freely, were secured as pilots. What was going on was not 
unobserved by the British, and an attack on Sackett's Har- 
bor was planned. On the 28th May, 1813, its garrison sight 
ed a fleet which had crossed from Kingston. Landing a con- 
siderable body of troops the assault was delivered next day 
from both land and water, and was being crowned with suc- 
cess when the Governor, Sir Geoi'ge Pi-evost, who accompani- 
ed the expedition, got into one of his fussy panics and, to the 
disgust of his officers, ordered the recall of the attacking 
forces. But for Prevost, the campaign of the Grand Army of 
the North would have ended that day. 

It was obviously unnecessary to concentrate all the soldiers 
designed for taking Montreal at Sackett's Harbor. It would 
save the building of many boats were the army divided, the 
larger part to go in the boats, which, after landing them near 
or on the island of Montreal, would cross the St Lawrence 
and ferry over the other portion of the army, which would 
be waiting their arrival on the southern bank. This plan not 
only saved the building of many boats, but had the further 
advantage that, in menacing Canada by two separate 
columns, the attention of the British commanders would be 
distracted. So it wiis decided the invading army should go 
in two columns, to meet at an agreed point convenient to 


The point chosen for assembhng the co-operating corps, the 
eastern column, was Burlington, on the shore of lake Cham- 
plain. Here troops came in slowly. The war was unpopular 
in New England, which, consequently, furnished few regiments 
for the regular army. The militia, which each State was 
compelled to raise, were not available for the expedition in 
hand, for a condition of militia service was that they should 
be sent to no foreign country. The consequence was, the 
eastern column depended on troops raised south and west 
of New England, the majority coming from Virginia. There 

8 The Sortie by LacoUe 

being no railways, these regiments had to march, so that it 
was the end of August before the force at Burlington was con- 
sidered large enough to take the field. The command was 
entrusted to General Wade Hampton. His instructions were 
specific, he was to co-operate with the army at Sackett's 
Harbor, and to be found waiting on the shore of the St Law- 
rence, anywhere between Caughnawaga and the mouth of the 
Chateauguay, when the flotilla from Sackett's Harbor ap- 
peared. The first step in the journey was taken early in Sep- 
tember when the army embarked on boats and crossed lake 
Champlain to Cumberland Head, N.Y The British comman- 
der, Sir George Prevost, had waited in Montreal all August, 
expecting an attack by the army at Burlington. On hearing 
they had crossed the lake he rashly concluded they were going 
to join the force at Sackett's Harbor for an assault on King- 
ston, and thither he hurried with his available forces. Being 
instructed to make an incursion into Canada to distract the 
enemy, Hampton broke eamp at Chazy, and taking again to 
his boats, on the 19th September, sailed to the point where 
the lake narrows into the Richelieu, and established his camp 
at Champlain. From there a party crossed into Canada, sur- 
prising the outpost at Odelltown, killing part of its inmates. 
The first day's march was a surprise. Their chief assailants 
were the Indians, who kept up a fusilade from the bush on 
either side of the road, which, however, inflicted only trifling 
losses. What convinced the Americans that it was impos- 
sible to go on, was their inability to find water. They were 
crossing a black ash swamp yet it was dry as tinder. The 
beds of brooks and small rivers were dry. Scouts report- 
ed there was no ruuning-water in the LacoUe. The summer 
had been the hottest and driest on record, and even rivers of 
considerable size had ceased to flow and only in the deeper 
hollows of their course were pools to be found. The horses 
had to be sent back to Champlain to be watered in the lake; 
the rank and file were desperate with thirst. A council of 
war was held, when it was decided to advance farther was im- 
practicable, and that the St Lawrence would have to be reach- 
ed by another route than the road to Laprairie. The sug- 
gestion was made they go by the Chateauguay valley. On 
being notified of the proposed change, Armstrong approved 
of the Chateauguay route, expressing his regret, however. 

The Camp at Four Comers 9 

that Hampton had not persevered as far as St Johns, the 
capture of which military depot would have mystified Pre- 
vost. On the 22nd Sept. the march was begun to Four 
Corners, 40 miles west of Champlain. The road was a 
rough bush-track and the weather was hot, which joined to 
wretched commissariat arrangements caused the march, which 
occupied four days, to be unnecessarily severe on the men. 
Four Corners was a hamlet situated on the eastern bank of 
theChateauguay, a small river having its origin in two lakes 
buried in the Adirondacks, and which, flowing northward, 
empties into the St Lawrence a few miles west of Caughna- 
waga. Running alongside the Chateauguay was a bush road 
which led from Four Corners to the Basin, where the Chateau- 
guay mingles its waters with the St Lawrence. The expec- 
tation of the army was that it would at once take this road, 
and that by the time they reached the St Lawrence, the 
flotilla of boats from Sackett's Harbor would be found 
waiting to ferry them across to Isle Perrot, which was the 
spot chosen for uniting the two columns preparatory to ad- 
vancing on Montreal. To cross the branch of the Ottawa 
that separates Isle Perrot from the Island of Montreal a 
bridge was to be formed of the boats that had transported 
the troops from Sackett's Harbor. To the surprise and 
disgust of the soldiers, they learned they would have to 
stay where they were, for word had been received that the 
army at Sackett's Harbor had not moved and was not ready 
to embark. Until notified it had embarked on its boats, 
Hampton was not to cross the frontier. 

Tents were pitched on the clearings south and west of 
where stands the railway-station of Chateaugay, N.Y. , the 
old name of Four Corners having been long since super- 
seded. Hampton and his staff found shelter in the one 
tavern. His haughty air repulsed the simple backwoods- 
men, who, for the first time, saw a Southern planter and 
the general of no mean army. He was reputed the richest 
planter of his day, having 3000 slaves on his vast estates 
in South Carolina, of whom he brought several to wait 
upon him. He was in his 59th year and self-indulgent. 
He plumed himself on his record as a soldier, having serv- 
ed on Marion's staff. Little block-houses were raised as 
shelter for the outposts, of which there was need, for In- 

10 The March Along the Chateauguaj 

dians lurked in the woods and cut off stragglers. On the 
Ist October they made an unexpected attack on the camp, 
killing an officer and a private, wounding another, and 
carrying off two as prisoners. It was a trifling affair but 
it had a bad effect on the morale of the army, the soldiers 
contracting an absurd dread of a foe, who, though despic- 
able in numbers, was unseen and unsleeping. The men 
shrank from sentry duty and not a night passed without 
dropping shots heard from the woods. To this natural 
fear was added discomfort. No new clothing was to be 
had and the cotton uniforms for summer wear, now thread- 
bare and ragged, were poor protection against the white 
frosts and rains of the fall. Food had to be hauled from 
Plattsburg, keeping 400 wagons, drawn by 1000 oxen, con- 
stantly on the road, so that the supply was subject to the 
weather and often short. To hardship was added the dis- 
content that comes from enforced inaction, with the result 
that sickness appeared and the number of invalids in- 
creased each day. Hampton was eager to go on but knew 
to do so could only end in disaster until the flotilla of boats 
would be found awaiting him. His instructions from Arm- 
strong were precise. He was to hold fast to his camp at Four 
Corners until "we approach you," and Armstrong's subordi- 
nate in another letter told him he "must not budge" until 
everything was matured for the start from Sackett's Harbor. 
The little army, posted in the bush, with an untrodden wilder- 
ness behind them and looking down upon the forest clad 
plains of Canada, where they knew they would find a foe, 
chafed in idleness until the 19th October, when a messenger 
arrived from Sackett's Harbor with a letter ordering Hamp- 
ton to march to the mouth of the Chateauguay as the flotilla 
was ready. On the 2l8t October the advance brigade left 
Four Corners, after a stay of 26 days. Altho the army was 
small, not numbering over 4000 effective men, the road was 
BO bad that it took several days to get the whole in motion. 
A body of militiamen, 1500 in all, who refused to cross into 
Canada, was left to guard the stores and camp, and to pro- 
tect the line of communication with Plattsburg. 

Brig.-General Izard, who led the advance, cut a pathway 
through the woods. Crossing the country with celerity he 
suddenly appeared before a blockhouse erected where Orms- 

The British Plan of Defence 11 

town now stands and surprised the guard stationed in it. 
His men prepared the adjoining clearings for a camp, and 
next day the leading regiments with part of the baggage- 
train appeared and occupied it. There had been a decided 
change in the weather. The prolonged drouth had ended and 
heaV3" rains had converted the road, over which long trains 
of wagons and a battery of artillery had to be dragged, into 
a quagmire. The distance from Four Corners to Spears 
(whose lot the village of Ormstown now occupies) was only 
23 miles, yet it took the army four days to cover. The route 
lay through a dense bush, broken at rare intervals by the 
small clearings of recent squatters. Altho the British had 
been promptly notified the Americans had crossed, no effort 
was made to harrass them on their march thru' the woods. 
From Spears downward, along the north bank of the Cha- 
teauguay, there was a tolerably continuous succession of 
clearings. Hampton had full and accurate information from 
his spies of the opposition he would meet on leaving camp 
at Spears. 

General De Watte ville had been sent from Montreal to raise 
every possible obstacle to the advance of the Americans. 
There was only one road by which they could come, the track 
that followed the windings of the river. A number of small 
creeks, in llowing to the Chateauguay, had worn deep chan- 
nels for themselves in the soft soil, so that the road crossed 
a deep gulley wherever a creek was encountered. These gullies 
De Watte ville perceived could be converted into formidable 
lines of defence, so he ordered that the trees that topped the 
banks of these gullies be so felled as to form barricades and 
afford shelter for the firing-line. Between what is now known 
as Allan's Corners and the foot of Morrison's rapids, a dis- 
tance of four miles, there are six of these gullies. The pre- 
paration of the first three of these ravines he entrusted to 
Major De Salaberry. The fourth, the most important, for it 
faced the ford at Morrison's, was assigned to Colonel Mac- 
donell and his Glengarry Highlanders. The sixth line De 
Watteville kept in his own charge, and hei-e he planted his 
artillery. Altogether he had 1600 men at his command, 
nearly all militia or regiments of volunteers. 

Hampton saw that forcing these successive barricades of 
felled trees was going to entail sacrifice of life, which he 


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Purdy Attempts a Flank Movement 13 

thought could be avoided by a flank movement. Dense bush 
and swamps made attempts to turn the barricades on their 
north side impracticable but by sending a column along the 
southern bank of the river it could cross at Morrison's ford, 
and so take all the lines of defence in their rear, except the 
main one under De Watteville, whom Hampton counted on 
retreating on seeing his front defences had been turned. The 
drawback totha plan was that it involved a march through a 
dense bush, broken by swamps, hollows formed by creeks full 
of water from the recent rains, and, worst of all, to cover 
such ground in the dark, for to be effective in carrying the 
ford the movement must be a surprise. The difficult task was 
entrusted to Colonel Purdy, who was in command of the 1st 
brigade. At dark on the evening of the 25th he led a regi- 
ment of the line and the light corps down to the ford, where 
the Ormstown grist mill now stands, and waded to the south 
bank of the Chateauguay. His troubles began at once. To 
lead a body of soldiers in daylight through an untracked 
forest, cumbered with fallen trunks and thick with under- 
brush, is difficult, but to do so in the dark is to attempt the 
impossible. The men straggled, and ever and anon, there 
were cries for help from those floundering in marsh or pool. 
To aggravate the situation, it began to rain. Purdy blamed 
his guides, but without cause, for it was so dark they could 
not recognize landmarks. A halt had to be called before two 
miles were travelled, and the little army shivering from wet 
and cold, for they dared not betray their presence to the 
enemy by starting camp-fires, passed the night soaked by 
the rain that now fell heavily. When their weary vigil 
was broken by sunrise the march was resumed. It being 
now light Purdy knew he could not take the ford by surprise, 
but pushed on in the hope of forcing a passage by assault. 
Fourteen hours had been spent in traversing six miles. On 
stragglers from his column approaching the river-bank they 
were recognized, and the alarm given that the Americans veere 
at hand. Macdonell ordered part of his force to cross the 
river to meet them. They found the invaders' advance in a thick 
cedar swamp. The Beauharnois sedentary militia fled at the 
first volley, but the two supporting companies the Americans 
found to be of different metal and there was, for a few minutes, 

14 The Skirmish of Cbateaugusy 

a sharp conflict. What decided the aflfair was the rain of bul- 
lets showered down from the opposite bank by Macdonell's 
men. Purdy, with exhausted and discouraged men, shrank 
from giving the order to storm the ford. He withdrew his 
force to what he considered a safe knoll in the woods, and, 
having sent a messenger to Hampton to tell of his situation, 
awaited his orders. While thus resting, Hampton's move- 
ments need to be described. 

The order to advance had been given early in the morning 
of the 26th and, leaving baggage and tents in the camp at 
Spears, the troops began their march. On the advance guard 
nearing Allan's Corners, the French Canadian company that 
held the outpost, abandoned their blockhouse and fled to the 
breastwork behind. This encouraged the Americans, who 
yelled and cheered. On the main body arriving the order to 
halt was given, and spreading out on the clearings the men 
lit fires and cooked dinner. Hampton confidently counted on 
Purdy's success, and therefore until he should hear from him 
refrained from ordering an assault on the enemy in his front. 
Time passed with no word from Purdy. Dinner over the men 
fell in and at 2 p.m. Brig.-General Izard was ordered to bring 
his brigade to the front. The Americans marched along the road, 
turned into the clearing at Allan's Corners and extended in line 
within gunshot of the breastwork behind which the British 
force was hid. Then there was a pause. W^hile chafing at 
not hearing from Purdy, there suddenly came the rattle of 
musketry from the opposite side of the river. Hampton's sus- 
pense was ended, for he rashly concluded Purdy was pushing 
the enemy. He sent the order to Izard to begin firing. With 
regularity that did credit to their drill, the companies in turn 
fired. These platoon vollies were responded to from the 
breastwork in a sputtering fashion. The shooting was at 
long range and with the musket of that time such shooting 
was almost harmless. Nobody was killed, but it was different 
with a party of American skirmishers who tried to flank the 
breastwork at its north end. They encountered a band of 
Indians. There was hot work for a few minutes, ending in 
the flight of the Americans. At this juncture a messenger, who 
had swam theChateauguay, about a hundred feet wide, hurried 
to Hampton to tell him that the firing he heard was caused 
by an attack of the British on Purdy's brigade, which he 

Hampton Returns to Four Corners Camp 15 

bad repulsed with difficulty. Instead of carrying the Morri- 
son ford, Purdy was now on the defensive and most anxious 
to extricate his detachment from a dangerous position. 
Hampton sent the order for him to retreat to a point where 
he could ford the river and rejoin the main army. Hampton 
was crestfallen. He had depended on Purdy's flanking move- 
ment, and its failure disconcerted him. He sat on his horse 
silent and irresolute. He knew it was in his power to storm 
the rude brush barricade that faced him and the others be- 
hind it, but that would involve loss of life. He was angry with 
Purdy for not notifying him earlier of his failure to carry the 
ford. Had he known that in time, he would not have broken 
camp at Spears. The explanation of why he had not heard 
from Purdy was simple. The messenger Purdy had sent in the 
morning with the despatch describing his situation had, after 
much difficulty, succeeded in reaching the camp at Spears, 
where he naturally- expected to find the General. To his sur- 
prise, he discovered the army had moved forward, and to 
obey the instruction to place the despatch in Hampton's 
hands he must tramp after him. The result was, that 
the despatch was not delivered to Hampton until too late 
for him to change his plans. The day had been dull and 
now great steamy clouds were gathering that told of a 
rainy night, while the brief light of a day in late October was 
about spent. He would suspend operations and consider 
what should be done on the morrow. The bugles sounded 
his order to retire. In perfect order, undisturbed by a single 
shot, the Americans filed into the road and marched back to 
the field where their commissariat wagons had halted. The 
pause before Hampton came to his decision was unique in 
military history. His best brigade stood in line ready to 
charge, yet not firing a shot, while their opponents watched 
them from their place of concealment reserving their fire for 
the assault that did not come. Had Hampton known that 
among the watchers was Sir George Prevost it might haTc 
spurred him to an attempt to capture him, and end the war. 
The governor-general on hearing of the Americans having 
invaded Canada left Kingston and hurried to the front, 
riding in with his staff while the Americans were pouring 
their harmless volleys Into the breastwork. Prevost wait- 
ed until he saw them execute the movements that broke 

16 Purdy Spends a Dreadful Nigbt 

their formation and fall into line to march to the field 
where they were to pass the night, when he left for De- 
Watteville's headquarters. 

Interest again centres on Purdy 's movements. He had 
gathered his men on a wooded point that jutted into the 
river. On the land side he had made a barricade of brush 
and fallen trees where a rear-guard covered him from such 
another attack as an hour before had nearly routed his 
brigade. His plans were made — he would send his wounded 
across on rafts and then make a floating bridge of the logs 
and fallen trees that lined the bank and so rescue his little 
army. As rafts were finished his wounded were lifted on 
them and ferried to the north bank, while axemen were 
rushing the floating bridge by which the troops were to 
escape. This took time, and it was dark before fit for use. 
Purdy sent a message to Hampton asking for a regiment 
to line the north bank to cover the crossing of his men, 
for the Indians had crept up towards him and were watch- 
ing his movements, firing whenever they saw a mark. The 
messenger returned with the information that Hampton 
and his command had gone into camp for the night a 
mile west of the frail bridge Purdy had expected would 
be his path to safety. He was intensely provoked. In his 
report he exclaims, "I was deserted, without the smallest 
guard to cover my landing." About a hundred had cross- 
ed the bridge when, on bullets beginning to come thick, its 
use had to be abandoned. Those who got over found their 
way to the camp as did also the wounded. There was no 
help for it but endeavor to reach the ford at Spears, 
which meant repeating the dreadful ordeal of the night 
before, with the additional horror this time of being track- 
ed by Indians. The floating bridge was torn apart, and the 
march began, the men starving and exhausted by fatigue. 
The march had not lasted half an hour when Purdy found 
it was absolutely necessary to give them a rest. Getting 
them into a compact mass, and posting sentries, the wearied 
men slept. What followed Purdy describes: "We rested un^ 
disturbed until about midnight, when the enemy came up and 
made an attack upon us, but were soon routed. The men at 
this time were formed, and lying on the ground they were to 
occupy in case of an attack, and were ordered to, and did im- 

Purdy Gets Back to Camp 17 

mediately, rise, seize their arms, and remain under them the 
remainder of the night. An excessively heavy rain prevented 
the firing both of the enemy and ourselves, except occasional- 
ly a single gun from the former. Our troops were ordered not 
to fire, but, in case of a repetition of attack, to charge 
bayonets; this was accordingly done. The enemy charged 
several times, and as often were put to flight. It is observable 
in its place, that, so greatly were the men overpowered by 
fatigue, though in a situation every way dangerous, and in 
which they had every reason to believe they should be sallied 
upon by the enemy every moment, many were unable to con- 
quer their disposition to sleep and it was not in the power of 
the officers to keep them awake." 

"Inability to shoot," recalls that the muskets of those days 
were flintlocks, therefore useless unless the priming was dry. 
There was no more rest for the wearied men, for the Indians 
kept up a constant alarm, yelling and shrieking, while the 
Americans prayed for daylight. At sunrise they resumed their 
march, and beyond an occasional shot the Indians, who were 
only a small band, dared not come to close quarters The 
rapid Croche was reached, the men waded across, and speedi- 
ly found the food and rest they so soreh' needed in the camp 
at Spears. 

Considering the number of Americans exposed to fire, their 
loss was trifling, and almost wholly confined to Purdy's 
column. Killed, wounded and missing did not exceed fifty. 
It is a commentary on how popular honors are distributed, 
that while deSalaberry is enshrined as the hero of the day, of 
the men whom he commanded not one was killed, while the 
companies that fought on the south side of the river, where 
deSalaberry did not set foot, and who really won the day by 
bafliing Purdy's flank movement, are ignored. They lost 5 
killed with 12 wounded. Of the losses of the Indians no re- 
cord was made; it must have far exceeded that of the whites 
for they came to close quarters with Hampton's left flank and 
dogged Purdy for 24 hours. 

Hampton rode ahead of his troops to camp and there he 
found a messenger who had just arrived from Ogdensburg. 
He handed a letter to the general who found it was from Major 
Parker of the intelligence corps, sent to inform him t,hat the 
army at Sackett's Harbor had not sailed. Hampton was 

18 Flotilla Has Not Sailed— No Use to Go On 

thunderstruck. He had advanced into Canada in the fall 
belief that the flotilla was on Its way and that, on reaching 
the mouth of the Chateauguay, he would find it waiting to 
ferry his army across to Isle Perrot. The purpose of his 
movement was gone, for there was no use in pushing for the 
St Lawrence when he knew there would be no boats to meet 
him. He called a council-of-war, which met on the afternoon 
of the 27th. He had obtained full information of the British 
force that was waiting to obstruct his farther advance and 
it was agreed it was too weak to be considered, it could be 
brushed aside. The question the general asked them to an- 
swer was, Is it advisable to push on knowing we will meet 
no flotilla? The point was considered in its several lights. 
Thus, after we have swept aside the enemy now in front of us 
and resumed our forward march, what would the army do 
when it reached the St Lawrence? While waiting the arrival 
of the boats, how v/ere -iOOO men and fully 1000 animals to 
be fed, seeing the countrj^ they occupied yielded nothing and 
they would be separated by a road of forty miles, through a 
wilderness, from Four Corners, their nearest base of sujjply? 
It was agreed that to go on would be to court disaster, there- 
fore the army should return to Four Corners and await ad- 
vices of the flotilla having sailed. When the ofiicers rose to 
leave, they had the general order to begin the retreat at once, 
and the march began to their old camp at Spears. Next morn- 
ing preparations \vere made for the longer march before them 
and the baggage-train and artillery was started. In the after- 
noon the last corps got under wa}- and the Spears camp aban- 
doned. These movements met with no hindrance from the 
British force, which clung to its lines of defence. The Indians, 
however, kept near, and on the night of the 28th surprised a 
picket and added to the number of their scalps. The condition 
of the road made the movement of the army slow, so that a 
week passed before it regained its former camp at Four 
Corners. The discontent that prevailed before the incursion 
into Canada was increased by the hardships of its futile 
marchings, and the men spoke their minds in a way that 
would not have been tolerated in any other than a republican 
army. The officers sympathized with the rank-and-file. They 
had lost all confidence in their general and were eager to go 
into winter quarters, which, indeed, the increasing cold was 

Hampton Gives Up the Campaign 19 

making imperative. The supply of overcoats was so small 
that they were reserved for the men who stood sentry. 

Soon after .\rmstrong had sent his despatch ordering Hamp- 
ton to advance into Canada, telling him he would find the 
flotilla waiting at the mouth of the Chateauguay to ferr}- his 
army to Isle Perrot, he left Sackett's Harbor for Albany, hand- 
ing over his command to Wilkinson, who, on learning Hamp- 
ton had returned to Four Corners, sent an order to him to 
march to St Regis, where the fiotilla would take his array on 
board on the 9th of November. St Regis was less than 
three days' march from Four Corners, and the road to it was 
entirely within the United States, so could be covered without 
opposition. Hampton treated the order with indignation. 
Wilkinson, he said, was not hi.s superior officer, and he would 
do as he deemed best. He wiote Armstrong that he would 
not go to St Regis and was retiring to winter-quarters at 
Plattsburg. The reasons he gave were, that the supply of 
forage for the animals was exhausted at Four Corners and that 
only half of his men were effective, and these were dispirited 
and worn by fatigue. From Piattsburg, he said, he would 
make a demonstration on the Canadian frontier to divert at- 
tention from Wilkinson. Paroling all his officers who so de- 
sired, Hampton hastened to Washington, and tendered his 
resignation, which was accepted. Among the subalterns who 
served in the campaign was John E. Wool, who afterwards 
achieved celebrit}-. He said, " No officer who had any regard 
for his reputation would voluntarily' acknowledge himself as 
having been engaged in the Chateauguay encounter." 


The desertion of Hampton did not necessarily make the plan 
to capture Montreal abortive. The purpose of his command 
was more to distract the British attention than to be essen- 
tial in the final attack. His movements, as a feint to conceal 
the American plans, had kept Prevost on tenter-hooks foi- 
three months and had been successful in causing him to de- 
plete the garrison of Montreal to strengthen that of King- 
ston. Hampton's retreat to Four Corners did more to help 
the American cause than had he persevered in reaching the 

20 The Army at Sacketfs Harbor 

St Lawrence, for it confirmed the commander of the King's 
forces in his belief that the army in waiting at Sacketfs Har- 
bor had Kingston for its goal. Acting on that impression 
Prevost left Montreal practically defenceless. His final guess 
of the enemy's intentions, was that Wilkinson would attack 
Kingston and Hampton, at the same time, march towards 
Montreal. Knowing the weakness of Hampton's force he 
considered it could be easily baffled and he would attend to it 
himself, waiting for it at Lachine. It was a rare opportunity 
for Wilkinson, which, however, he did not realize. He whined 
over Hampton's failure to join him with his little army of 
4000, while all the time he had a force in his hands that for 
the purpose of capturing Montreal was overwhelming. With 
the British strength bottled in Kingston, it was the easiest of 
exploits to swoop down on Montreal and make it his prey. 
Why he failed to do so, forms a remarkable page in American 

In 1813 the republic was in its infancy as regards material 
resources, so that when it undertook to concentrate 15,000 
fighting men at a point on its north-western frontier it was 
making a herculean effort. There were then no railways and 
no steamboats. Cannon, food, material of every kind except 
timber, had to go by tortuous rivers with many portages on 
account of rapids, while the men had to march over roads 
which were canals of mud. That all difficulties were over- 
come, that a fleet of several hundred boats was built, and a 
fully equipped army, including cavalry and an artillery-train, 
got together at the head of the St Lawrence, told of energy, 
ingenuity in overcoming obstacles, and financial sacrifice. 
When, on the 19th October, Armstrong left for Washington, 
where his authority as Secretary of War was much called for, 
he considered the expedition ready to sail, and expected it 
would do so when the weather, which was stormy, with ad- 
verse winds, became favorable. As a consequence of his de- 
parture, Wilkinson, from second in command, now became 
chief By profession he was a physician, but service in the 
Revolutionary war enabled him to pose as a soldier. First 
and last he was a politician and that at a period when public 
life was a scandal; when poUtician meant a man who sought 
position and opportunity to gain wealth. What he lacked in 
natural ability, Wilkinson made up in bluster and pretence: 

Wilkinson Lets Time Pass 21 

there was no louder boaster as tov.'hat he would do, no greater 
failure in performance. In every public position he wormed 
himself into he left behind a record of incompetency, of quar- 
relling with subordinates, and a flavor of dishonesty. In his 
negotiations with the Spanish agents he took bribes. While 
his duties at Sackett's Harbor consisted in visits to places 
on lake Ontario, whence reinforcements and supplies were to 
come, in consultations with Chauncey, the commander of the 
lake fleet, in issuing orders and criticising subordinates, his 
overbearing manner and bombast concealed his incompetence, 
but when he could no longer avoid entering on active opera- 
tions he had to find other masks. He did so by pleading ill- 
health and throwing blame, when failures occurred, on his as- 

The first stage towards Montreal was leaving Sackett's 
Harbor for Grenadier island, a distance of a few miles, which, 
owing to storms, was accomplished with difficulty. The 
choice of that island for rendezvous was designed to confirm 
Prevost's belief that Kingston was to be attacked. On the 
29th October all was ready for the next stage, to reach Bush 
creek, 20 miles farther down the river, where the cavalry and 
field artillery, who had gone forward by land, were to be in 
waiting to be ferried to the north bank of the St Lawrence. 
Again the winds were against the boats, and it was not until 
the 2nd November that the embarkation of the army began. 
On the evening of the next day they encamped at Clayton. 
The British were kept informed by their spies of what was 
going on, and Lieut. Mulcaster with several small gunboats 
was watching for an opportunity to attack when Chauncey, 
with a much superior force, appeared. Mulcaster then sailed 
to Kingston, confirming the news that the expedition was not 
designed to attack that place, but was bound for Montreal. 
On the 4th November the flotilla ought to have been under 
■weigh, but bungling had kept back part of the supplies and 
the day was lost. On the 5th there was no further excuse for 
delay. The flotilla emerged from French creek, opposite Ganan- 
oque, and streamed downwards. Neither before nor since has 
Old St Lawrence been the scene of a grander spectacle. There 
were nigh 350 boats, bearing an army of over 9000 men, with 
a large contingent of sailors and pilots for the management 
of the boats. The procession, five miles long, was gay with 

The Flotilla Sails 23 

flags and uniforms, the choruses of the boatmen and the 
music of fife and drum adding joyous exaltation to the faith 
of all on board that this armada of the inland seas was sweep- 
ing onward to assured rictory. It was a charming day, the 
Indian summer having set in, and such progress was made 
that before sunset 40 miles had been covered. That night the 
army encamped at Morristown opposite Brockville. Next 
day was spent on the sail to Ogdensburg, which was neared 
at dark. The batteries of Fort Wellington at Prescott were 
greatly feared. Colonel Pearson was there in command 
anxiously waiting the coming of the flotilla. He sent an 
officer, lieut, Duncan Clark, to Brockville to watch. On 
the evening of the 5th Duncan caught a glimpse of the boats 
which seemed to him to fill the river. Seizing a farmer's 
horse he galloped to Prescott with the news. Next day the 
redcoats expected to see the invader, but did not sight the 
advance boats until dark. It was taken for granted day- 
break would begin the fight and the little garrison slept 
beside their guns. The day wore away without a boat 
coming. This was due to Wilkinson's caution. Instead 
of running the gauntlet at once, he had on nearing Ogdens- 
burg signalled the flotilla to tie up. Next morning the 
ammunition was loaded on carts and ev^ery man not needed 
to manage the boats marched with them along the U. S. bank 
to a bay 2 miles below Ogdensburg, where the boats would pick 
them up next morning. This delay caused the 7th to be lost 
which was the more deplored by the U.S. staff from its be- 
ing warm and fine. The boats remained tied up all day 
awaiting the dark. When the moon set they rowed rapidly 
down the stream, when it was proved the fear of the guns 
of Fort Wellington had been unwarranted. As the long 
procession of boats began to steal past, hugging the 
south shore as closely as possible, a noisy cannonade was 
opened, but the guns were either badly pointed or the range 
was too long for their cahber, for not a boat was hit, though 
one chance shot killed a sailor and wounded two. Two boats, 
laden with artillery and provisions, ran aground, and were 
with difficulty got off, which together with landing a body 
of troops on the Canadian bank delayed the flotilla sail- 
ing that day, the 8th Nov. Landing troops on the north 
bank was owing to spies having sent word that the 

24 A Brigade Landed in Canada 

British had planted batteries wherever the river was nar- 
row. Colonel Macomb was landed on the Canadian side with 
1200 men to clear the bank of them. This caused skirmishes, 
which invariably ended in the fleeing of the gunners into the 
bush after spiking or concealing their guns. That night 
the flotilla tied up at the narrows, 6 miles belowWaddingtOn 
having made only 8 miles. Here the cavalry and artillery, who 
had kept moving onwards on finding the flotilla did not over- 
take them at Bush creek, was found waiting, and it took much 
time to ferry the cavalry to the Canadian bank; the guns were 
taken on board, and so the 9th was wasted, the flotilla 
making no progress. The farmers who dwelt on the north 
bank of the river, when questioned by their unwelcome visi- 
tors, magnified the dangers they would meet— the terrors of 
the rapids, the batteries that would rake their boats wherever 
the river was narrow, the bands of Indians prowling in the 
woods, the lack of forage. These stories so impressed the 
Americans that it was decided to strengthen the cavalry, and 
so next morning General Brown with his brigade of infantry 
was detailed to accompany them along with two companies 
of artillery. 

This formidable force found few obstructions in their 
march along the road that skirted the north shore of the 
St Lawrence. Shots were occasionally exchanged with 
riflemen hid in the woods and two or three rude block- 
houses, erected to shelter the relief guards, were burned. 
Trifling as their losses were, they conflrmed the Americans 
in their delusion that redcoats were concealed in the bush 
and were there in force. Wilkinson scattered, by means 
of the troops he landed, a proclamation assuring the Can- 
adian farmers he had not come to make war upon them 
but to subdue the King's forces, and if they would remain 
quietly at home, they would be protected in their persons 
and property. This had no effect. The farms that lined 
the Canadian bank of the St Lawrence were owned by 
United Empire Loyalists or their descendants, and Wilk- 
inson's threat, if found in arms they would be treated as 
enemies, did not frighten them. They kept up a guerilla 
or rather a predatory warfare on the Americans as they 
marched along and, when the British troops finally did 
come, joined their ranks. The promise about respecting 

A British Force Comes in Sight 25 

their homes was not kept, for the American soldiers, under 
both Macomb and Brown, harried cellars, barns, and 
stables ruthlessly, making no compensation for what they 
took. With a few exceptions, the farmers saved their 
horses and cattle by concealing them in the bush. The 
forage they had saved for winter feed, the U. S. cavalry- 
men used. What the commissariat officers bought they 
paid for in Mexican silver dollars. 

The day after he passed Ogdensburg Wilkinson received 
a message from his agent there, that two armed schooners 
had arrived at Prescott, accompanied by several open 
boats filled with soldiers, and his belief was that they would 
follow and try to do what harm they could to the flotilla. 
On passing Point Iroquois, where there is a short rapid, a 
mu&ketry-fire was suddenly opened on the flotilla. The 
assailants were a body of farmers, under Captain Munro, 
who kept on shooting until a strong body of Americans 
was landed, when they disappeared into the bush. Fine 
weather continued. The 9th was sunny but, fi*om trivial 
causes, the flotilla was hindered, and made only ten miles. 
On tying up for the night reports from spies told that 
the British had perfected arrangements to obstruct by bat- 
teries the running of the Soo rapids. Wilkinson ordered the 
flotilla to stay where it was until the shooting of the rapids 
was made safe, so he directed Brown to march early next 
morning and clear the bank of the enemy. Brown, an en- 
ergetic and brave man, set about his task at daylight and 
found it troublesome. There was a British force of over 
a thousand farmers waiting at Hoople's creek, but when 
their commander, Major Dennis, learned the strength of 
the Americans he sought cover and let them pass. Throw- 
in g aside the obstacles that had been placed on the road. 
Brown hastened on, for he had learned great quantities of 
provisions and ammunit'un had been landed at Cornwall, 
awaiting the opening of the route to Kingston. This he 
hoped to capture, but the Glengarry farmers disappointed 
him. In response to an urgent call theyhurriedly hastened 
to Cornwall, and as each cart was loaded took the road to 
Martintown, into which 150 rumbled before nightfall. 
The Americans occupied Cornwall without resistance. 

26 Colonel Morrison and Hia Men 

When Brown got as far as Barnhart island he sent a 
trooper to Wilkinson with a despatch telling him the 
rapids were clear and to come on at once, as it had begun 
to rain and the men had no tents. The letter was handed 
to Wilkinson early in the forenoon and found him in per- 
plexity over evidence that the British had overtaken him. 
Early in the morning three boats flying the British flag had 
been sighted coming down the river. They were the gun- 
boats in which Mulcaster had pursued from Kingston. Two 
were merely scows with a 6-pounder in their bows. The 
third was larger, with a 24 and 32 pounder. They opened 
fire. On the Americans sending ashore two heavy cannon 
whose shot reached them, they drew out of range. Next 
came sounds of firing from the woods on the north bank, 
showing the British were in touch with McComb's troops. 
There was still daylight enough to make the trip over the 
Soo rapids and the flotilla got under weigh. When it had 
sailed a few miles Wilkinson changed his mind, saying it 
was too late to shoot the rapids, so the gunboats tied up 
at Cook's Point, and the flotilla in the bay on the other 
side of -the point. Mulcaster with his gunboats anchored 
as near as was prudent, firing an occassional shot that 
always fell short. On the river bank redcoats were several 
times sighted and there were skirmishes with the American 
rearguard, entailing a few casualties. The nearness of his 
foe troubled Wilkinson, for a strong British force could 
follow and attack the rear of that part of his army that, to 
lighten the boats, would have to march along the road on 
the north-bank of the St Lawrence to join the flotilla at 
the foot of the Soo rapids. In the big log-building where 
Cook kept tavern Wilkinson took up his quarters and had 
a night of it with boon companions. Scouts reporting a 
considerable body of British regulars encamped in a pine- 
grove three miles west, every precaution was taken against 
a night attack; the soldiers slept on their arms and strong 
patrols covered the camp. The night, however, passed 
without alarm. 

How this force of British regulars came needs to be told. 
When Lieut. Mulcaster, R.N., sailed into Kingston harbor 
on the 6th November and reported to the commander, 
General Rottenburg, that the flotilla had sailed for Mon- 

Follow the Flotilla 27 

treal, and that Kingston was not to be attacked, prompt 
action was taken. The sailor was asked if he would un- 
dertake to convey a corps of observation, in pursuit of the 
flotilla, and he answered yes. Despatch was used, and, on 
the night of the 7th, four barges, bearing detachments of the 
49t,h and 89th regiments, rowed out of Kingston harbor 
and found Mulcaster and his gunboats in waiting. The 
little force of redcoats was under command of Joseph Win- 
ton Morrison, colonel of the 89th, he being senior officer. 
The American fleet, under Chauncey, were blockading the 
river with the express object of guarding Wilkinson's rear, 
by preventing the British gunboats on lake Ontario fol- 
lowing him. The St Lawrence, however, is wide and at 
the foot of Ontario has many islands. Mulcaster had a 
pilot who knew all the channels, and slipt past Chauncey 
in the darkness. Every expedition was used and next 
evening Prescottwas reached, where the discouraging news 
awaited them that the Americans had safely run the gaunt- 
let of Fort Wellington's guns. Being no longer need- 
ed, part of its garrison was ordered to join the corps of 
observation. This reinforcement consisted of the two flank 
companies of the 49th, a body of militia, and thirty In- 
dians, raising Colonel Morrison's force to 800. Anxious 
as he was to overtake the flotilla, he tarried long enough 
next day at the hamlet of Waddington, on theU., to 
recover a quantity of military stores which the Americans 
had captured from a convoy of barges a short time before. 
After this exploit Mulcaster hastened to overtake the flot- 
tilla. On seeing it had tied at Cook's point, Morrison and 
his men landed to await developments, while the gunboats 
dropped down near enough to open fire, which the Ameri- 
cans returned, without damage to either. The British 
troops encamped under the pine-trees and passed an un- 
comfortable night. 

The morning of the 11th November dawned bleak and 
cloudy, with an east wind that told of coming storm. The 
night having passed without sign of the enemy, Wilkinson 
declared he was confident the British dare not attack him, 
and ordered that the boats be got ready to sail and that 
the troops who had been landed to lighten the boats 
strike tent and start on their march to Cornwall. The 

28 Wilkinson Decides to Fight 

movement on both land and water was in progress when 
Mulcaster renewed his fire from the gunboats and at the 
same time the Americans beheld a long red column issue 
y^ from the woods and form in line of battle on a cleared 
field on the farm of John Crysler. Seen at a distance of 
over a mile, the force looked imposing, and Wilkinson 
concluded it was necessary to disperse it. The order 
to the flotilla to sail and to the troops to march to Corn- 
wall was countermanded and General Boy d detailed to 
give battle. There was confusion and unpreparedness 
that caused delay, and it was not until after dinner the 
advance was sounded, when General Swartout's men 
moved on the line of skirmishers thrown out by Morrison, 
who from bush and ravine were keeping up a lively fire . 
The skirmishers were militia and Indians who, seeing they 
were outnumbered, fled for shelter, and the sight of them 
running evoked prolonged cheering from the American 
spectators on the boats and the river bank, who took their 
flight as a prelude to that of the column that stood beyond 
them. That column was composed of well-tried soldiers. 
The battalion of the 49ih was of Brock's own regiment, 
and had been with him when he fell at Queenston Heights, 
their commander was now Lieut.-Col. Harvey, the hero of 
Stoney Creek. Colonel Morrison and his battalion had 
arrived in Canada a short time before from service on the 
Continent. He was of a type of which the British service 
has never lacked representatives — a devout Christian. 
Duty called on him to make a stand despite his inade- 
quate force, and he did so in simple faith that the justice 
of the cause he was called upon to maintain, would secure 
victory. The men in arms before him were whei'e they had 
no right to be, they had come to seize a country to which 
they had no claim, they had been sent by a government 
that had broken the peace by declaring war against Britain. 
If ever a righteous cause was to be upheld at risk of life, 
it now faced him. His sense of justice impelled him to 
drive back the invader whence he came, his love of inde- 
pendence to scorn to yield to men intent on forcing a for- 
eign allegiance on Canada. Satisfied in conscience of the 
justice of the cause whose flag he bore, his knowledge as a 
soldier told him of the risk he ran in offering battle 

The Armies Face to Face 29 

against such fearful odds. With 800 men he was challeng- 
ing a General who had it in his power to hurl several thou- 
sands against him. 
The field upon which the impending battle was to be 
*^ fought, was a stretch of clearings along the north bank of 
the St Lawrence. The plain, broken by stumps and snake- 
fences, with occasional trees, was nowhere of any great 
width, for it dropped into an ash swamp that ran along- 
side it. Morrison had chosen for his position the part of 
^ the clearance where it was narrowest, his left resting on 
the swamp and his right on the St Lawrence, where Mul- 
caster with his gunboats secured that flank. For the se- 
curity of his left flank he trusted to the impassability of the 
swamp. The field was a short half mile wide yet there were 
not men enough, tho' spread thinly, to form a line across 
BO that there was a wide gap between the 49th andCrysler's 
buildings, in and around which were posted the militia 
and a party of sailors. In front of the column was the 
eideroad leading north, whose low log-fence afforded 
some protection, while a shoi't way east of the road ran a 
ravine, shallow where the creek issued from the swamp, but 
deepening as it neared the St Lawrence. It was this gully 
which caused Morrison to select his position, for it would 
be an obstacle in a charge and to the passage of cavalry. 
Morrison had three field-guns, 6-pounders: he posted one at 
each end of his line, and one in the center. It was near- 
ing 2 o'clock on that raw and gusty afternoon when the 
British saw six columns advancing towards them across 
the plain that lay between them and the flotilla, fully two 
thousand strong. That was not all Morrison had to en- 
counter with his 800. Behind the columns sweeping to- 
wards him were the several thousands held in reserve on 
the flotilla or encamped on the river bank. He was face 
to face with the entire force Wilkinson had at his com- 
mand. Allowing for the detachments sent to Cornwall that 
force must have numbered 7000. The Americans regarded 
it as inconceivable that the British would make a stand. 
They took as granted, that, when their first line drew near, 
the redcoats would disappear among the pine trees behind 
them. So on they marched, trampling the fall-wheat with 
which the field was green, confident of an easy victory, 








i * 



(^ SJEffl S^_^ 

li /' .>i ' /^ 


II ^ 


/i i' 




(I > 




The Plan shows the position of the Combatants 
at the Opening of the Battle 

The Battle of Crjsler 31 

with waving banners, bouncingly keeping step to fife and 
drum, laughing and shouting, confident they were about to 
see the men who composed the thin red line that confront- 
ed them, to use their own phrase, skoot for cover. As 
soon as the Americans came within range they began 
firing, shouting derisive cries to their opponents, who 
stood silent and stock-still, firing not a shot. Not till the 
advancing enemy neared the edge of the gully did Morri- 
son give the word, when a volley rolled forth. More ef- 
fective was the small six-pounder at the head of his line. 
The Americans came to a halt. They did not expect this. 
They began firing by platoons across the shallow ravine, 
which they did not attempt to cross, the British steadily 
replying, until the American commander. General Boyd, 
to end an indecisive long-range duel, asked his friend 
General Covington, to take a regiment and turn the 
British left. The Americans wheeled northward, crossed 
the ravine, and bore down on the end of Morrison's line, 
who met the attack by changing the formation of the 89th, 
so arranging the files that they faced north instead of east. 
This difficult movement of echelon was effected under fire, 
yet done as steadily as if on parade. As the Americans 
advanced, the 89th poured into their ranks a steady fire 
while the little cannon raked them. Boyd's order was 
that Covington should charge, but this withering shower 
of bullets stopped his advance. His men swung backward, 
firing as fast as muskets could be loaded. Covington, who 
was mounted on a white horse, while urging his men to 
charge, fell mortally wounded, so did his successor, and the 
third who took command also fell. It was a contest be- 
tween discipline and numbers, between skill and inexperi- 
ence. The combatants were of the same stock, and equal 
in natural courage, but few of the Americans had been 
under fire until that hour, and naturally wavered over 
coming to close quarters. With fit officers they would have 
charged as their general ordered. Boyd saw how critical 
the situation was and hurriedly sent reinforcements, and 
they were needed, for tlie rank-and-file were wavering and 
many were slinking away. For half an hour the fighting 
went on and during that time the Americans suffered their 
severest loss. When their firing slackened Morrison felt 

32 The Americans Defeated 

the decisive moment had come and ordered the 89th to 
charge. They crossed the gulley, reformed, and advanced 
with levelled bayonets. The foe retreated slowly at first, 
then broke rank and crowded down to where their boats 
lay. Boyd saw the possibility of a rout and to avert 
that danger tried a diversion. He ordered a column of 
fresh troops with two cannon to threaten an attack on 
the south end of the British line. To repulse this, Morri- 
son had to halt his advance and hasten down across the 
field to meet this new assault. On coming up with the 
enemy his men fired a volley and then made a bayonet 
charge. The Americans fled, leaving one of their cannon 
and part of their number, who were made prisoners. 

General Boyd now realized the day was lost and that 
the most he could do was to gain enough time to reach the 
boats. During the fight a squadron of dragoons stood be- 
side the boats as a reserve. Boyd sent the order to their 
commander to gallop up the road that ran along the St 
Lawrence bank and endeavor to get behind the British 
column. On seeing them coming the 49th turned to meet 
them and the 89th, farther away, hurried to their support. 
The dragoons came dashingly along and the danger of 
their succeeding was imminent. They had reached the 
ravine which, if they were able to cross, would have left 
them free to take the British position in the rear. The 
leading files dashed down into the ravine and while crowd- 
ing up the opposite bank a volley, at point-blank range, 
from the Crysler buildings, that stood on the west side of 
the ravine, emptied so many saddles that the men were 
seized with panic, and wheeling their horses galloped back 
to the boats. That volley was fired by a cluster of sailors 
and U.E. Loyalists — farmers who had volunteered to save 
their homes. 

It was now 4 o'clock. Tbe plain in front of him was 
strewn with dead and wounded, and everywhere Morrison 
could see the Americans running towards their boats, and 
leaping into them when reached. He ordered a general 
advance, and his soldiers, now assured of victory, raised 
a mighty shout. On they swept towards the flotilla, until, 
on coming within range of the gunboats, Morrison had to 
sound a halt. Protected by the big guns of the armed 

And Take to Their Boats 33 

boats the last of the Americans got on board, while the 
routed cavalry stopped not in their flight until they reach- 
ed Cornwall. The east wind that had prevailed all day 
had backed the current of the St. Lawrence, so that part 
of the boats had grounded, and pushing them into deeper 
water took time and added to the confusion. On the 
ground left by their foes, the British found they had abandon- 
ed part of their stores, which they did not stay long enough 
to reship. Among the spoil were overcoats, blankets, and 
knapsacks of which the Americans had lightened them- 
selves before advancing to the fight, and which they did 
not tarry long enough in their flight to recover. The 
storm was now on, first rain, then sleet, which changed to 
snow. The victors, cheered by their success, bore cheer- 
fully the discomforts, the hunger and exposure, of a 
miserable night by their camp fires. The American boats 
found their way by the moonlight to the landing at 
the head of the Soo rapids on the U. S. bank, which was 
reached at 9 p.m. In the wild storm the wounded were 
carried ashore to find such cover as barns and stables af- 
forded. Their moans and cries in the boats and now when 
lifted on shore increased the distress of the shivering sol- 
diers and sailors as they faced the blast, and they clamor- 
ed before their officers it was time to give up and go into 
winter quarters. 

Wilkinson naturally minimized his losses, reporting 102 
killed and 237 wounded, being careful not to tell how many 
he had lost as captured. This is certain, the British found 
over 40 American wounded on the field of battle and the day 
after the fight gave honorable burial to 100 of their dead. 
Americans taken prisoners numbered 100. The British 
had 22 killed, 147 wounded, and 12 missing, so that one 
out of every five who took part in the engagement had 
dropped out — an unusual percentage. 

Daybreak found the crews in charge of the flotilla astir 
and as the boats got ready they steered into the current, 
which swept them into the Long Soo, when its mighty tide 
hurried them swiftly to calm water at Barnhart island 
where they found General Brown with his brigade, and 
who had made preparation for their camping. Shooting 
the rapids was an expeditious method of transporting the 

34 Wilkinson Will Go No Farther 

army and Wilkinson had soon his command once more 
concentrated. There was only one sentiment in that army 
about him, and it was, that he was an incapable. The de- 
feat of the previous day was due to his lack of executive 
ability. The flotilla had spent eight days in making eighty 
miles enabling Mulcaster and Morrison to overtake them. 
A log, set adrift in the channel, would have 
made the distance in two days. With proper man- 
agement the army ought now to have been on the 
island of Montreal. As it was, between the weather 
and their pursuers, they looked for continued disasters. 
Among those who greeted Wilkinson on his landing on 
Barnhart island was Colonel Atkinson, who explained 
be had come from Four Corners and had waited at St 
Regis for the flotilla. The letter he bore from Hampton 
stated he would have been glad to join Wilkinson at St 
Regis but had not provisions for his men or forage for his 
horses to make the march. Professing to be indignant, 
Wilkinson secretly rejoiced over the message— it gave him 
an excuse to abandon the expedition and shoulder its 
failure on Hampton. He called a council-of-war and laid 
Hampton's letter before them. On Hampton's refusal to 
obey his order to be at St Regis, he dwelt with voluble 
severity. Just when the grand object of the expedition 
was within grasp it had been snatched away by Hampton's 
extraordinary, unexampled and unwarrantable conduct, 
which was an outrage on every principle of subordination 
and discipline. He told the officers that, without Hamp- 
ton's army, he would not undertake to go to Montreal. 
All but two agreed to going into winter-quarters. Speak- 
ijig among themselves, the officers were ready to go on un- 
der Brown: none desired to proceed farther with Wilkinson. 
Despicable as were Hampton's motives in refusing to 
march to St Regis, his not going saved the Republic from 
another disaster to her arms. St Regis was a miserable 
Indian village on the edge of what, in 1813, was a wilder- 
ness. The country affording no supplies his army would 
have been reduced to starvation before the flotilla appeared. 
Thecouncildecided the flotillashould make for the Salmon 
river, as a safe place for it to winter, and that it go at once. 
Wilkinson then issued a general-order to that effect in 

Wilkinson 35 

which he declared "He with lively regret and the deepest 
mortification suspends the attack on Montreal, but he as- 
sures the army it is not abandoned." The dragoons left 
that afternoon for Utica, making their horses swim to the 
United States shore, and then the flotilla sailed for Salmon 
river, where the first boats ended their career at 3 in the 
morning of the 13th November. 

There was no justification for Wilkinson's abandoning 
the capture of Montreal. He was within three days' easy 
sail of it and had an overwhelming force for the purpose. 
On the 8th December, when the Salmon river camp had 
been got into something like shape, a roster was taken, 
and it showed an army of regulars of 8,143, and that after 3 
weeks during which desertions were of nightly occurrence 
and there had been many releases on furlough, so that 
when, at that eventful council on Barnhart island it was 
decided to give up the advance on Montreal, Wilkinson 
must have had nigh 10,000 apart from cavalry and boat- 
men, and he knew full well there were not hundreds for his 
thousands in front of him. The defeat inflicted by Colonel 
Morrison explains his eagerness to escape further contest. 
Morrison was about to pursue him in Mulcaster's boats 
when he was astounded by the surprising information that 
the Americans bad fled the scene. 

Three miles above the mouth of the Salmon river, where 
the first rapid gave power, there stood a small grist-mill 
and a saw-mill, and clustered about them the shanties of 
those who found employment in them, together with two 
taverns and a store or two. On a knoll near these was a 
blockhouse, where a small garrison was kept. Late in the 
afternoon of the 13th a courier brought to the little hamlet 
the surprising word that the army of the north was coming 
and to prepare for the reception of the wounded. Hours 
passed before the head of the melancholy procession of 
boats was seen stealing up the moonlight waters. The 
wounded men were carried to the blockhouse until it was 
filled and other cover had to be sought. General Coving- 
ton died before he could be borne ashore. His body was 
taken to Ware's tavern and buried with military honors 
the following day. His name is perpetuated by the pretty 
village of the present day, its original name, French Mills, 

36 The Camp at Fort Covington 

giving place to Fort Covington in 1817, when a munici- 
pality was organized. The word " Fort " was prefixed to 
distinguish the new town from Covington, Ky. The body 
of the General with those of two other officers were, after 
the war, exhumed for final interment at Sackett's Earbor. 
Not all the boats found moorings in the Salmon river. 
A few openly rowed to the Canada shore, the soldiers 
preferring desertion to the hardships before them. Worse 
still was the conduct of many officers, who sold the 
stores on their boats and pocketed the money. With 
what boards were in the millyard flimsy sheds were run 
up, but they were far too few and the majority of the men 
had to live in tents. On the 1st December hard frost set in. 
The wretchedness of their condition can hardly be exag- 
gerated. The country was a wilderness, with no store of 
provisions to draw upon except what had been brought in 
the boats and that was speedily exhausted. Before a fort- 
night rations had been reduced to barely enough to main- 
tain life, and there were regiments that went without bis- 
cuit for four days, and when they were to be had, were of a 
quality that even starving men loathed them, for they were 
mouldy and had been made from the flour of sprouted wheat. 
The meal designed as poultices for wounds, the doctors 
had to order to be cooked as food for the sick and they 
reported that, without proper food and medicines, it was 
impossible for those under their care to recover. Dysen- 
tery, inflammation of the lungs, and typhus-fever soon be- 
came prevalent, but, more frightful than these diseases, 
was a paralysis of the limbs — a dry rot or withering of 
the extremities. The physicians ascribed its cause to bis- 
cuits made from smutty flour, and were happy, in pre- 
scribing opium to relieve the pain of the sufferers, to find 
that the drug also counteracted the disease. Before 
Christmas one-third of the army was unfit for duty; how 
many died during those six dismal weeks is unknown. 
By that time lumber had been obtained and huts were 
erected for those who had been under canvas, while the sick 
and wounded had been conveyed to Malone, which village 
was converted into an hospital. The conduct of many of 
the captains of companies was shameful. In the sufferings 
of their men they saw an opportunity of making money. 

The Order to Disband 87 

They did not revise the rolls they sent to headquarters 
and drew pay and rations for men who had deserted or 
found graves on the banks of the Salmon river. The pay 
they pocketed, the rations they sold to the survivors. 
That there were honorable and patriotic men in the army 
is undeniable, but the majority of the officers were ignor- 
ant and unscrupulous; school-district and ward politicians, 
who owed their positions to the influences of caucus and 
partyism, and who made the campaign a means of en- 
riching themselves. As depicted by those who served 
under them, a more despicable set of men never officered 
an army; blatant as to their patriotism and hatred of 
Great Britain, yet defrauding their own government and 
making secret offers at Cornwall of the provisions and 
war-material they meanly purloined On getting their 
pay, which was only $6 a month, the soldiers spent it 
in buying food from the settlers, who came in sleighs 
from a great distance to find a market for their produce 
in the stricken camp. When the St Lawrence froze de- 
sertions increased, for it was known the British garrison 
at Cornwall was ready not only to welcome them but to 
make up any arrears of pay due them by the U. S. govern- 
ment. As the weary winter days passed discontent in the 
camp grew into mutiny, so that one morning a big crowd 
of them actually started to march to Sackett's Harbor and 
were with difficulty persuaded by the commanding general 
to return. Their only excuse was, that anything was bet- 
ter than the hardships they were enduring. 

While his army was in this dreadful state, Wilkinson 
was living in comfort at the residence of a leading citizen 
of Malone, whither, the day after his troops went into 
camp, he had been borne in a litter on the shoulders of 
eight men. Whether his illness was the result of unavoid- 
able causes or arose from drink is in doubt, but it certain- 
ly had no effect in checking his boastful inclinations. He 
kept writing to Washington advising what ought to be 
done to capture Montreal, speaking as if his army were 
eager and ready for service and he was the general to 
direct the campaign. The disappointment of the American 
people at the failures of Hampton and Wilkinson was in- 
tense and their expressions of indignation loud. Had the 

38 Cause of the Failure 

army on the Salmon river been kept intact it could, when 
spring came, have taken again to its boats and occupied 
Montreal before reinforcements arrived by sea, but its dis- 
organization went on so rapidly that to save the remnant 
the order was sent from Washington to divide what was 
left of it, 2000 to march to the barracks at Sackett's Har- 
bor and the remainder to those at Plattsburg. On the 3rd 
February preparations for abandoning camp were begun. 
The masts of part of the boats were cut and the hulls then 
sunk. The remainder were set fire to and burned to the 
water's edge. In all, 328 boats were destroyed. The huts 
and stores that could not be moved were burnt or dumped 
into the river. 

The grand campaign to capture Montreal and v/ith it all 
Canada west of the fortress of Quebec thus ended in defeat 
and disaster, in mutiny and thame. Wilkinson was court- 
marshaled and Armstrong was compelled to resign, but 
neither they nor any responsible for the miscarriage of the 
campaign were punished. While Hampton, Wilkinson, 
and Armstrong were primarily responsible, the cause of 
failure lay with the American public. The success of the 
revolution of 1776 had intoxicated them with pride and to 
those who took part in it they attributed qualities to which 
they could lay no claim. Men were rated as heroes who 
were mere blusterers; self-sacrifice atti'ibuted to men who 
took advantage of the disorders that prevailed during the 
revolution to enrich themselves, and patriotism ascribed 
to bosoms where selfishness reigned. That the triumph of 
the Revolution was due to assistance from abroad, to 
French money, fleets, and armies, was ignored, and ascrib- 
ed to Washington and his generals. So it came, when war 
was declared in 1812, the men who were embalmed in the 
public mind as the personification of every military virtue 
were given command. The result was disastrous. Hull, 
Dearborn, Hampton, Wilkinson, Armstrong were all 
veterans of the revolution, and in their respective failures 
throw a side-light on the quality of the leaders of the 
revolution. The war lasted another year, and there was 
fierce fighting along the Niagara frontier, but there was 
no renewal of the attempt to capture Montreal. The cam- 
paign which ended on Crysler's farm ensured its safety. 

Crjslev Turned the Scale 39 

Wilkinson declared it was not the event of the 11th Nov- 
ember that caused his abandonment of the campaign. It 
is self-evident, however, that had Morrison's little army 
been routed he would have had no excuse to give up his 
advance on Montreal. He would have met no opposition 
to give him concern until the spires of that city met his 
sight, and, even then, its paltry garrison of 200 sailors 
and 400 marines, drawn from the fleet at Quebec, and a 
mob of militiamen dragged from their homes by compul- 
sion to shoulder a gun, could not have withstood him. 
With Montreal in U. S. possession all the British troops 
west of it, cut ofif from their base of supply, would have 
bad to surrender, and the stars-and-stripes would have 
flown over all Canada west of Quebec. It was the battle of 
Crysler that saved Canada. At the distance of a century 
we perceive events in their right proportion, and I'ecog- 
nize Crysler to be the decisive battle of the war of 1812. 
So long as Canadians rejoice in being Britons they ought 
to cherish the memory of Morrison and his eight hundred. 

Addenda 41 

Colonel Joseph Winton Morrison 

Was the son of an officer in the Bi-itish army, who was 
stationed in New York during the period before the war of 
Independence. He was born in 1773. On the family re- 
turning to England he was educated there, and, while still 
a stripling, got a commission in the army. He was moved 
about a great deal, seeing some service in the field, and 
rose to be Lieut. -Colonel. On the war of 1812 breaking 
out, he was sent with his battalion of the 89th regt. to 
Halifax, and the following summer was ordered to Upper 
Canada. While in garrison at Kingston he was detached, 
as told in the foregoing narrative, to follow the flotilla of 
Wilkinson. For his victory of Crysler he received no 
official recognition, beyond being awarded, with the other 
officers who fought with him, a medal. The summer of 
1814 he and his battalion served on the Niagara frontier. 
At Lundy's Lane he was so severely wounded that his life 
was despaired of. He was sent to England, making a slow 
recovery. In 1822 he was ordered to India, and in the 
wars with the natives greatly distinguished himself. Ex- 
posui-e to an unhealthy climate broke down his constitu- 
tion, compelling him to return homeward. While the ship 
was making her way to England he died, aged 57 years. 
Efforts to secure a portrait of him for this monograph 
were futile. The following is the official despatch in which 
he reported the battle of Crysler — 

Crysler, Williamsburg, Nov. 12, 1813. 

Sir,— I have the "heartfelt gratification to report the bril- 
liant and gallant conduct of the detachment from the centre 
division of the army as displayed in repulsing and defeat- 
ing a detachment of the enemy's force, consisting of two 
brigades of infantry and a regiment of cavalry, amounting 
to between three and four thousand men, moved forward 
about two o'clock in the afternoon, from Cook's Point, 
and attacked our advance, which gradually fell back to 
the selected position for the detachment to occupy, the 
right resting on the river and the left on a pine-wood, ex- 
hibiting about seven hundred yards. The ground being 
open, the troops were thus disposed — 

The flank companies of the 49th regiment, and the de- 
tachment of the Canadian regiment, with a field-piece, on 
the right ; under Lieut. -Colonel Pearson. A little ad- 

42 Addenda 

•vanced up the road, three companies of the 89th regiment, 
formed in echellon, with a gun; under Captain Barnes, with 
the advance on its left, supporting it. The 49th and 89th, 
thrown more to the rear ,with a gun, formed the main body 
and reserve, extending to the woods on the left; which 
were occupied by the Voltigeurs, under Major Herriot, and 
the Indians under Lieut. Anderson. — At about half-past 
two the action became general, when the enemy endeavored, 
by moving forward a brigade from his right, to turn our 
left, but was repulsed by the 89th regiment forming en 
potence with the 49th regiment, and by moving forward, 
occasionally firing by platoons. His elf orts were next direct- 
ed against our right, and to repulse this movement, the 
49th regiment took ground in that direction, in echellon, 
followed by the 89th. When within half musket shot, the 
line was formed under a heavy but irregular fire from the 
enemy. The 49th was directed to charge their guns, posted 
opposite to ours, but it became necessary, when within a 
short distance of them, to check this forward movement, in 
consequence of a charge from their cavalry on the right, 
lest they should wheel about, and fall upon our rear, but 
they were received in so gallant a manner by the com- 
panies of the 89th under Captain Barnes, and the well 
directed fire of the ai'tillery, that they quickly retreated, 
and by a charge from those companies, one gun was gain- 
ed. — The enemy immediately concentrated his force to 
check our advance, but such was the steady countenance 
and well directed fire of the troops and artillery, that 
about half-past four, they gave way at all points from an 
exceeding strong position, endeavoring by their light in- 
fantry to cover their retreat, who were driven away by a 
judicious movement made by Lieut. -Colonel Pearson. 
The detachment, for the night, 'occupied the ground from 
which the enemy had been driven, and are now moving 
forward in pursuit. 

I regret to find our loss in killed and wounded has been 
so considerable, but trust a most essential service has been 
rendered to the country, as the whole of the enemy's infan- 
try after the action precipitately retreated to their own 

It is now my grateful duty to point out to your honor 
the benefit the service has received from the ability, judg- 
ment, and active exertions of Lt.-Col. Harvey, the deputy 
adjutant-general, for sparing whom to accompany the de- 
tachment I must again publicly express my acknowledge- 
ments. To the cordial co-operatio» and exertions of Lt.- 
Col. Pearson, commanding the detachment from Prescott; 
Lt.-Col. Penderleath, 49th regt. : Major Cliftord. 89th regt.; 
Major Herriot of the Voltigeurs, and Captain Jackson of 
the royal artillery, combined with the gallantry of the 
troops, our great success may be attributed. Every man 
did his duty, and, I believe, I cannot more strongly speak 
their merits than in mentioning our small force did not 
exceed eight hundred rank and file. 

To Captains Davis and Skinner, of the quarter-master 
general's department, I am under the greatest obligations 

Addenda 43 

for the assistance I have reeeived from them; their zeal 
and activity have been unremitting. Lieut. Hag-german of 
the militia and Lieut. Anderson of the Indian department 
have also, for their services, deserved my public acknow- 

As the prisoners are hourly being brought in I am un- 
able to furnish your Honor with a correct return of them , 
but upwards of a hundred are now in our possession; 
neither of the ordnance stores taken, as the whole have 
not yet been collected. 

I have the honor to be, Sir, 

Your most obedient, humble servant, 

J. W. Morrison, 
Lieut. -Col. 89th regt., Commanding. 

To his Honor General DeRottenburg. 

Wilkinson's Official Report of the Battle 

A variety of reports of the British movements and coun- 
ter movements were brought to me in succession, which 
convinced me of their determination to hazard an attack 
when it could be done to the greatest advantage; and there- 
fore I resolved to anticipate them. Directions were ao 
cordingly sent by that distinguished officer, Col. Swift, o{ 
the engineers, to Brig. Gen. Boyd, to throw the detach- 
ments of his command assigned to him in the order of the 
preceding day, and composed of his own, Covington's and 
Swartwout's brigades, into three columns, to march upon 
the enemy, outflank them, if possible, and take their ar- 
tillery. The action soon after commenced with the ad- 
vanced body of the enemy, and became extremely sharp 
and galling, and with occasional pauses, but sustained 
with great vivacity in open space and fair combat, for up- 
wards of two and a half hours, the adverse lines alternate- 
ly yielding and advancing. It is impossible to say with 
accuracy what was our number on the field, because it con- 
sisted of indefinite detachments taken from the boats to 
render safe the passage of the rapids. Gens. Covington and 
Swartwout voluntarily took part in the action, at the head 
of detachments from theii* respective brigades, and ex- 
hibited the same courage that was displayed by Brig. Gen. 
Boyd, who happened to be the senior officer on the ground. 
Our force engaged might have reached 1,600 or 1,700 men, 
but actually did not exceed 1,800; that of the enemy was 
estimated from 1,200 to 2,000, but did not probably amount 
to more than 1,500 or 1,600, consisting, as I am informed, 
of detachments from the 49th, 84th and 104th regiments of 
the line, with three companies of the Voltigeur and Glen- 
garry corps, and the militia of the country, who wei-e not 
included in the estimate. 

•44 Addenda 

It would be presumptuous in me to attempt to give a de- 
tailed account of the afifair, which certainly reflects high 
honor on the valor of the American soldier, as no ex- 
amples can be produced of undisciplined men with inex- 
perienced officers, braving a fire of two hours and a half, 
without quitting the field, or yielding to their antagonist. 
The information is derived from officers in my confidence, 
who took active parts in this conflict: for though I was en- 
abled to order the attack, it was my hard fortune not to 
be able to lead the troops I commanded. The disease with 
which I was assailed on the 2nd of September, on my 
journey to Fort George, has, with a few short intervals 
of convalescence, preyed on me ever since, and at the 
moment of this action, I was confined to my bed, and em- 
aciated almost as a skeleton, unable to sit on my horse, 
or move ten paces without assistance. I must, however, 
be pardoned for trespassing on your time a few remarks 
in relation to the affair. 

The objects of the British and Americans were precisely 
opposed; the last being bound by the instructions of the 
government, and the most solemn obligations of duty, to 
precipitate their designs on the St Lawrence by every prac- 
ticable means; because this being effected, one of the 
greatest difficulties opposed to the American arms would 
be surmounted, while the first, by duties equally imperious, 
to retard and if possible, prevent such descent. He is to 
be counted victorious who effected his purposel The Brit- 
ish commander having failed to gain either of his objects, 
can lay no claim to the honors of the day. The battle 
fluctuated, and seemed at different times inclined to the 
contending corps. The front of the enemy were at first 
forced back more than a mile, and though they never re- 
gained the ground they lost, their stand was permanent 
and their courage resolute. Amidst these charges and 
near the close of the contest, we lost a field piece by the 
fall of an officer, who was serving it with the same cool- 
ness as if he had been at a parade or a review. This was 
Lieut. Smith, of the light artillery, who, in point of merit, 
stood at the head of his grade. The enemy having halted 
and our troops being again formed into battalion, front 
to front, we resumed our position on the bank of the river, 
and the infantry being much fatigued, the whole were re- 
embarked and proceeded down the river without any fur- 
ther annoyance from the enemy or their gun-boats, while 
the dragoons, with five pieces of light artillery, marched 
down the Canada shore without molestation. 

It is due to his rank, to his worth, and his services, that 
I should make particular mention of Brig. Gen. Covington, 
who received a mortal wound directly through the body 
while animating his men and leading them to the charge. 
He fell where he fought, at the head of his men, and sur- 
vived but two days. 

The dead rest in honor, and the wounded bled for their 
country and deserve its gratitude. 

Addenda 45 

DeSalabarry's Official Report of the Skinrish of 

On the Chateauguay River 
26th October, 8 p.m. 

Sir,— In the action of this day, which began by the 
enemy attacking oui- advanced pickets, in great strength, 
on both sides of the river, the enemy has been obliged to 
abandon his plan. Our pickets, supported in time by the 
Canadian Light company, 2 companies of Voltigeurs, and 
the light company of the 3rd Embodied Militia, behaved in 
the bravest manner. After the action, we remained in 
quiet possession of the abatis and posts we occupied pre- 

The enemy's force appeared to me to have been at least 
1500 men, with 250 dragoons and 1 piece of cannon. Three 
of our men, who saw the American army passing at best 
part (place) make it out amount to more. There were 
about 30 cannon with them. 

I cannot conclude without expressing the obligations I 
owe to Capt. Ferguson, for his cool and determined con- 
duct and his extreme readiness in executing of orders. 
Capt. Daly, of the 3rd Batt. , cannot be surpassed; he con- 
tended with 50 men against a force ten times in number. 
Capt. Daly is wounded in three places. Capt. Bruyei-e 
behaved with gallantry, and was wounded. Captain J. 
Robertson and Jochereau Duchesnay have evinced great 
gallantry, and so, indeed, have many officers employed, 
particularly aide Major Sullivan, whose bravery has been 
so conspicuous. Capt. Lamothe, with a few Indians, ex- 
posed himself very much, and so did Capt. Hebden of the 

By correct information there appears no doubt the enemy 
have returned to the Outarde. 

This report is made by woodfire light. 

I have the honor to be. Sir, 

Your most obedt. servt., 


Two officers wounded. 

Light company, Canadian regiment, 3 killed and 4 
privates wounded. 
Voltigeurs, 4 wounded. 
3rd Batt. light company, 2 killed, 6 wounded, 4 missing. 

To Major-Genl. DeWatteville 

46 Addenda 

Hampton's Official Report 

The army was put in motion on the morning of the 26th 
October, leaving its baggage, etc. , on the ground of en- 
campment. On advancing near the enemy it was found 
that the cohimn I had sent (the previous evening to cross 
by a ford and tal« the enemy in the rear) was not as far 
advanced as anticipated. The guides had misled it, and 
finally failed in finding the ford. We could not communi- 
cate with it, so waited the sound of attack from below. At 
2 o'clock firing was heard on the south side of the Chateau- 
guay river, when oui- troops advanced rapidly to the at- 
tack. The enemy's light troops commenced a sharp fire, 
but Brig. -Major Izard, advancing with his brigade, drove 
him everywhere behind his defenses and silenced the fire 
in front. This brigade would have pushed forward as far 
as courage, skill, and perseverance could have carried it, 
but, while advancing, the firing on the south bank of the 
river ceased, and word came the f<jrd had not been gained. 
The enemy retired behind his defenses, but a renewal of his 
attack was expected, and our troops remained some time 
in their position to meet it. The troops on the south bank 
of the river were excessively fatigued. Its purpose having 
failed, Colonel Purdy was ordered to withdraw his col- 
umn to a ford 4 or 5 miles above and cross over. The day 
was spent and Gen. Izard was ordered to withdraw his bri- 
gade to a position three miles in the rear, to which place 
the baggage was ordered forward. The slowness and order 
with which Gen. Izard retired with his brigade must have 
inspii'ed the enemy with respect. They presumed not to 
venture a shot at him during his movement. The unguard- 
edness of some part of Purdy's command exposed him to 
a rear attack from the Indians, which was repeated after 
dark, entailing some loss These attacks were always re- 
pelled and must have cost the enemy as many lives as we 
lost. Our entire loss in killed, wounded, and missing does 
not exceed fifty. In its new position, within three miles of 
the enemy's post, the army encamped on the night of the 
26th and remained until 12 o'clock of the 28th. All the 
deserters, of whom there were four, concurred in the infor- 
mation that Sir George Prevost, with three other general 
officers, had arrived with the whole of his disposable force 
and lay in rear of the defenses. 

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